Photo Credit: Suad Bejtovic Photography
You know, there is just something different about college football. There’s a special type of caged electricity that starts in the parking lot, is fueled by tailgating and gradually builds until kick-off. Then— BOOM!
It explodes into a frenzy of team colors, fan chants, high-fives, and slow-dives. In short, it’s AWESOME. And this time, it was in Sports City USA.
Frisco’s very own Toyota Stadium played host to the 2017 DXL Frisco Bowl, (formerly the Miami Bowl, one of 14 bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events) and now that fans have had the true taste of what college football is all about, there’s no turning back.
Fans of both Louisiana Tech and SMU came in droves, all decked out in face paint, team colors and maybe just a bit more than the buzz of pregame excitement. An appearance by SMU-alum and Dallas Cowboys’ Wide Receiver Cole Beasley added to the fanfare.
During the National Anthem, hundreds of Military Veterans and their family members proudly displayed a massive American flag across the field, ending with bursts of fire in the sky.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, the “losers” of the road trip as the SMU Mustangs needed only a half-hour drive to find the friendly Frisco confines, had yet another blast on a Texas-bound expedition.
Louisiana Tech (7-6) VS SMU (7-6)—51-10
Using good old-fashioned domination on both sides of the ball, the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs bested the SMU Mustangs in quick fashion.
Before a near-sellout crowd, the “home” SMU Mustangs found themselves trailing after a one-yard TD run by Louisiana Tech’s QB J’Mar Smith (15/23, 216 yds, 3 TDs). Smith, a sophomore dual-threat quarterback, also picked up 22 yards on the ground, including that initial rushing touchdown.
That early seven-point deficit would prove to be SMU’s closest chance to getting in the game. As if Smith and the Bulldogs offense wasn’t enough to topple the stunned Mustangs, their defense boasted six turnovers, three of which came from SMU’s QB Ben Hicks (19/34, 127 yds TD, 3 INTs), who was never able to get comfortable in the pocket.
SMU’s top two running backs—RBs Braeden West (512 yds, 2 TDs), Xavier Jones (1,019 yds, 9 TDs)—were held to zero touchdowns and just 111 combined rushing yards. The lone Mustangs TD came when Trey Quin (48 yds, TD) hauled in a nine-yard toss from Smith with just :15 seconds remaining in the first half.
By halftime, the Bulldogs (7-6) of Conference USA West, held a commanding 42-10 lead with the second half looming as little more than a formality on their way to victory. Louisiana Tech was able to put on the breaks for a lackluster second half, as their defense put up zeroes and kicker Jonathan Barnes (3/4) pierced the uprights three times in the second half, at distances of 28, 43 and 41 yards.
Freshmen CB Amik Robertson returned an interception 55-yards for a score just a few minutes after Senior S Secdrick Cooper took a pick-six to the house for a 23-yard return. Running back Boston Scott (110 yds) led all rushers in the game and WR Teddy Veal (118 yds, 2 TDs) proved to be J’Mar Smith’s favorite target as he took full advantage of all five receptions, scoring on two of them in the first half.
The 51-10 laugher was Louisiana Tech’s fourth-straight bowl win, with three of those four victories coming underneath the beautiful backdrop of the Lone Star State.
The SMU Mustangs close out their 2017 season at 7-6, as fourth-place finishers in the American Athletic Conference (AAC), while the Louisiana Bulldogs improve to 7-6 overall, where they finished fourth in C-USA West.